Another 3,476 new cases of COVID-19 were reported by health authorities across Canada, pushing the country’s total caseload to 903,238, of which 850,053 have since recovered.
Another 33 deaths linked to the virus were announced as well, raising Canada’s death toll from COVID-19 to 22,404. To date, more than 26.1 million tests and 2.83 million vaccine doses have since been administered.
As infections of the virus in Canada begin inching towards the 1 million mark, new cases of the more transmissible variants continue to increase — raising concerns over a possible third wave of COVID-19 in the country.
According to Health Canada, over 3,100 confirmed cases of “variants of concern” have been identified across all 10 provinces as of March 12. The B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the U.K., accounts for more than 90 per cent of those infections.
The variants’ spread also came amid news of ramped-up deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines to the country.
On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada could expect to receive at least one million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine every week from March 22 to May 10.
Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo also said that nearly 600,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were doled out over the past week, the highest since inoculations first began.
Ontario on Friday reported the highest increase in new cases with over 1,370 infections, as well as 18 new deaths. Quebec added the second highest, with another 753 cases and nine additional deaths.
B.C., on the other hand, recorded its first day without a death linked to COVID-19 in months, with officials reporting only 648 new infections. That case total, however, was the highest in weeks and the second-highest since the start of the new year.
Alberta added another 425 infections on Friday alongside two more deaths. Saskatchewan added three new deaths on Friday as well as another 176 cases.
In Manitoba, 98 news cases and one additional fatality were added on Friday. The provincial government there announced that people would be allowed to gather on restaurant patios starting Saturday.
In Atlantic Canada, three provinces reported new cases of the virus.
New Brunswick added another three infections while both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador added a single case each. P.E.I. did not report any new COVID-19 cases.
None of the territories added any additional cases on Friday as well.
To date, over 119 million cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed across the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. A total of 2,638,000 people have since succumbed to the virus worldwide as well, with the U.S., India, Brazil and Mexico leading in cases or deaths.
— With files from The Canadian Press